Almond Brown Sugar Cookies

I already made these brown sugar cookies for the Hanukkah party (Dec. 2009), but I decided to make them again for two reasons:
1) I wanted something simple, and I had all of the ingredients already
2) I had almonds leftover that I wanted to use up.
These are the two main reasons I find myself in the kitchen. The only other time I am baking something, it is for a special occasion, and now, since January, the Daring Bakers’ Challenge every month.
Anyway, if you want to know more about the cookies, you can check out the original post. If you want to check out the recipe, click here. Sorry for the short and lazy post. I promise the next one will be better. I am going to be making Hamentashen, which are cookies usually served for Purim, but I am a week late. But better late than never, right? :)

dulce de leche cookies

In the original recipe, these cookies

are actually called “Melting Moments”. But I amended the filling to be dulce de leche, so I also changed their name. The cookies themselves do melt in your mouth, and the dulce de leche add a nice flavor contrast. The original recipe (which will be provided) includes chocolate butter cream, which would be more melt-y and of course would add a different flavor contrast, as well as a color contrast between the cookie and the filling. You could pretty much choose any flavor for these. Perhaps strawberry for Valentine’s Day? They are pretty easy to make, but I would keep an eye on them because they bake quickly. Although all ovens are different, I don’t think they really need the full 30 minutes as is called for in the recipe. Even though I baked two sheets at once, they still came out dark. For those of you that are new to the site, and/or if you are interested in making more things with dulce de leche, you can check out the dulce de leche brownies recipe that I have and this link will lead you to more information about dulce de leche. Follow the jump for the cookie recipe.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

I wanted to use up the peanut butter and peanuts that were leftover from the brittle, so I made peanut butter cookies with peanuts in them. They are tasty, and it was my first time I adapted a recipe on my own, so they are a little too sugary for my taste. I got the recipe from A Field Guide to Cookies, written by Anita Chu. It is a very basic peanut butter cookie recipe, but right at the top of the page it read, “do not use natural peanut butter, because it separates” so I thought, well, that’s what I’ve got, so I have to make it work. I thought that it must separate because of the fat content. So I did not use butter in the recipe. I was going to replace the butter with peanut butter, but I didn’t have enough, so I just added oil. I think they turned out okay. I will post the original recipe on here, since the recipe that I ended up with is not perfect. I still have some peanuts left, so the next post might also feature them; sorry in advance for so many peanut posts, but I think this blog needs a little more balance of flavors, since most of the recipes on here are chocolate-y.

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sugar cookies

Yesterday, I made sugar cookies for the last day of Hanukkah party I helped Benjie host. I made two different recipes, one was (I think) the recipe from the back of the Domino’s sugar bag, and is a regular sugar cookie recipe, which used only white granulated sugar. The other one I have saved from Gourmet magazine, and it is a brown sugar cookie recipe. The first one can be rolled and shaped and cut out and decorated. The other can be scooped, and is more like a chocolate chip cookie dough recipe without the chocolate chips. I decorated with sprinkles and blue icing. Many people like to use royal icing for decorating cookies, but with everything else going on for the party (we made latkes, too) I didn’t want to make royal icing. However, I will include the recipe just in case you want it for your sugar cookies. The royal icing is from A Field Guide To Cookies, which is written by another food blogger; her site is called Dessert First.

So, here are the recipes, in order they were mentioned:

1 tsp. baking soda

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 cup butter

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup sugar or 1- 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

Heat oven to 375º. Sift together the dry ingredients; set aside. Cream together butter and vanilla. Add either 3/4 cup sugar or 1-1/2 cups for chewy cookies. Beat in the egg. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Roll out and cut to desired shapes. You can add sprinkles right into the dough, and/or you can add sprinkles to the top of the cookies. The colder the dough, the easier it is to handle. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on rack. Makes 1-1/2 dozen large cookies.

(Almond) Brown sugar cookies (from Gourmet magazine)

1-1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

(1/2 cup whole blanched almonds = 2-1/2 oz)

Whisk together dry ingredients. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. (Stir in almonds) Roll into logs and chill or freeze dough or scoop onto baking sheets. If you rolled the dough into logs, you will slice the dough less than 1/8 inch thick. If you scooped them, use the back of a wet spoon or wet the palm of your hand, and press down. Bake cookies 12-15 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes 100 to 120 sliced cookies. I think I made about 12-18 3 inch scooped cookies.

Royal Icing

2 egg whites

1 Tbs. lemon juice

3 cups powdered sugar

food coloring

Whisk all ingredients except for the coloring in a clean bowl on high speed. They should be shiny and an opaque white. It should be a glue-like consistency. Divide into bowls and mix in the coloring as desired. Keep covered with a damp towel so it does not dry out.

So, those are the recipes for sugar cookies and royal icing for decorating. I really liked the brown sugar cookies, and I think that was everyone’s favorite as well.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! (though I am sure I’ll bake something else before New Year’s.)

ice cream & cookie sandwiches

One of my favorite combos would be cookies and ice cream, so to make a sandwich with them is just fabulous. Whoever thought of the ice cream sandwich gets a gold star in my book!
We made the cookies from scratch, using the first chocolate chip cookie recipe ever, Nestle Tollhouse.

We then used Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. It was a good flavor combo, but I like the classic vanilla ice cream in the middle of my chocolate chip cookies. What about making cookie sandwiches with chocolate cookie dough ice cream? or is that going too far? There are so many different cookie flavors and ice cream flavors, the possibilities are endless!

chocolate cookies: part 2

Okay, so I made some more chocolate cookies, again, because I was wanting something sweet and chocolaty, and a limited supply of ingredients. This recipe is also very simple and easy, and quick to make. It came from The Little Black Book of Chocolate and is called chocolate wafers. It says it makes about 24 wafers, but I think I made fewer than that because I ended up eating some of the batter, and probably scooped them a little bit bigger than “walnut size” and ate them right out of the oven, before I got a chance to count them. (Yes, I could have counted them before they went into the oven.) Also, since I just made chocolate cookies that looked very similar to these, I found no reason to take a picture of them. But if you really want a picture of these particular chocolate cookies, I would be happy to make them again, and post a picture. :o)
Chocolate Wafers
1-1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

This is the regular “creaming method”, for those of you who come from the professional baking world. For those not from the professional baking world, here’s what that means:

  1. Cream together the sugar and butter, until “light and fluffy”. (I put “light and fluffy” in quotes because it is a phrase I read all the time and think “what does that mean?” of course, I know it means lighter in color, and not little butter chunks mixed with sugar. (Oh, Chef Haymon, you would be so proud.)
  2. Beat in the egg and vanilla. 
  3. Gradually beat in the flour and cocoa powder and baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined.
  4. Scoop into walnut sized balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Press down.
  5. Bake in preheated 375º oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool on racks. 

Again, try not to eat them all right when they come out of the oven.

**Update: literal comment note from my roommate: “These things are so good! VERY addictive! Thank you…” Just goes to show you how good these really are; they were gone in about 24 hours!**

In case you are wondering, we did not make the Better Than Brownie Cookies (another part two) last night. But maybe tomorrow, or Saturday, if we are not too busy with everything else for the dinner we are hosting. (Or, rather, that Benjie is hosting and I am helping with, since it is at his house.) Maybe they will be made on Sunday, before we go down to San Jose? Anyway, they will be made over the weekend. So, look for them after Yom Kippor. If you are “celebrating”, have an easy fast!

craving chocolate

tonight, I was craving something chocolate. literal thought process: “I want something chocolaty. But I know I don’t have anything. I could get out of my PJs and grab something from the convenience store. Nah. Hmm, let me go to the kitchen and see what’s in my cabinet. Cocoa powder. (reads ingredients listed for chocolate cake) No milk. Hmm…(searches cabinet for more chocolate products. Finds Baker’s chocolate, the unsweetened little squares. Reads back of box. Recipe for Soft and Chewy Chocolate Drops.) Hmm…I seem to have all of these ingredients. Oh, wait…FOUR chocolate squares?! (dumps out contents of box) Oh, I have TWO. Easy! I’ll just cut the recipe in half. (re-reads recipe.) It calls for three eggs. Oh well, I’ll figure out what half an egg is.” Long story short…(weird expression, by the way.) I made the cookies on the back of the Baker’s box. Really easy and quick. I omitted the glaze, because I did not have any cool whip. But no worries, these cookies are good with out it, and as the title of the recipe says, they are soft and chewy. Oh, and they took care of my chocolate craving, no problem.
Soft & Chewy Chocolate Drops
I will post the whole recipe, the one that is on the back of the box, even though when you grab your box, you can just read it from there. :o)
4 squares (4 oz) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
350º oven. My spoonful made about 2 dozen cookies.
Microwave chocolate and butter until butter is melted. Stir in chocolate until chocolate is melted. Add sugar. Mix well. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, mix well. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or until dough is easier to handle. *I did not do this, and found the dough easy enough to scoop right away.* Bake 8 minutes, or until set.
That’s it. Try not to eat all of them as soon as they come out of the oven.

Just a little p.s/preview: tomorrow night’s baking adventure during movie night might be Better Than Brownie Cookies, Part 2, this time with peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips, instead of chocolate chips. Should be interesting, I like playing around with flavors. We’ll be bringing them to break-fast on Monday. That also means no post for Monday. Sorry, I am already not living up to my Monday/Thursday regular schedule. Oh well. Also, Friday night, or Saturday morning, we might be making pumpkin pie, or using the leftover pie filling for some dessert to share with the crew that is coming over for dinner on Saturday night. Keep coming back for more updates regarding these baking adventures!